Richard Branson Makes Time For Social Media. What About Radio's Top Leaders?
October 11, 2011
What a headline. Sir Richard Branson always makes time for social media. Is this the same Sir Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin Records, who has an empire that is described as “300 companies in 30 countries that span diverse industries such as music, travel, health and beyond” that participates in social media?
He can’t possibly have time for what many dismiss as time-sucking social media, can he?
Mashable recently ran an interview with Sir Richard, discussing his participation in the social space. After reading the interview, I naturally started thinking about the opportunities that exist for broadcast radio’s CEOs and top leaders.
Mashable asked Branson why he started using social media in the first place, and his response was intuitive: “Virgin as a brand is naturally conversational.”
And of course, that applies very much to radio, a medium where there has traditionally been a one-way dialogue with consumers that can now be engaging and back-and-forth.
Branson added, “Virgin was made for social media, as we're a rather chatty brand and enjoy talking with our customers and guests about what they like and how we can improve their experiences.”
Doesn’t that work for radio, too? The opportunity to talk with listeners and translate those conversations into improving their customer experience? Branson notes that social media should not be viewed as a chore, nor is it about hyping company or station achievements.
“Social media goes beyond business. People want to know what’s meaningful.”
As I spent time on Branson’s blog, along with his activity on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, it’s clear he has identified that social platforms enable him to steer word of mouth about product experiences in the direction that benefits Virgin’s branding and its bottom line.
For radio’s CEOs and managers, it’s the chance to listen, to stay ahead of the conversation about stations and brands, and to offer reassurance that you’re present, tuned into your employees, your consumers, and the world around you.
Branson’s blog is succinct and open, which is the essence of blogging. He instinctively knows how to be a good storyteller, showing a side of his personality, and sharing ideas with those who work for him and those who consume his brands and product.
He uses Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus as gateways to his blog, although at times, Branson uses Twitter to interface with Virgin’s followers. Some of his responses are just downright funny:
Branson is the master of his Twitter domain, rather than using staffers to “ghost write” his tweets. While he can be very funny socially, he also offers his followers insights into his personality and his experiences:
It is recognized that radio CEOs and leaders have a lot on their plates. Much is at risk as we learn how to embrace today’s technology, how to educate and properly propose integrated digital and social elements with our client’s traditional marketing campaigns and how to keep our brands in the hands (and hearts) of consumers.
Yet, while working on the greater good for our radio industry, it is a missed opportunity to avoid or minimize social media. Everyone watches when corporate moguls tweet and connect on Facebook - and when they lay low and avoid these avenues. This isn’t just listeners but also shareholders and employees.
So here’s my offer, corporate radio execs -- I will be your confidential tutor and mentor in helping you connect with your communities. I will show you how easy and intuitive it is. We can talk about your goals, and the best ways in which you can use tools like Twitter and Facebook to stay in closer touch with key thought-leaders, forward-thinking employees and listeners with something to say. I guarantee this will be a great experience, and that you won’t miss a single board meeting along the way.
Sir Richard has some parting words for company leaders who are considering stepping into this social space:
”Be authentic and organic. It can’t be forced or it won’t work. And most importantly, have fun.”
It’s time for you to get social.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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